Learning how to cut a pomegranate is one skill you won't regret learning! It's really easy once you get the hang of it, and being able to enjoy a bowl full of fresh, juicy pomegranate seeds afterward makes it well worth the effort.
I LOVE opening up a fresh pomegranate at home. It's actually super fun to do and the fresh pomegranate seeds (also called "arils") are just so good and fresh when you take the extra few minutes to do it yourself. (As a bonus, it's also a lot cheaper than buying store-bought packaged seeds.)
The only ingredient you'll need here is a pomegranate! If you plan on making juice, I'd plan on using at least 6 pomegranates which will yield about 4 cups of juice.
Pro tip: You'll want to inspect the visual appearance of the pomegranate before you buy one. The more vibrant the color the better, with skin that isn't tough and leathery. Also, you'll know if a pomegranate is juicy and ripe by its weight: the heavier the better! 🙂
See recipe card below for exact quantities.
How to eat a pomegranate
If you've never eaten a pomegranate before, you might be wondering what the edible parts are and how to eat it. Great question. The arils are the part of the pomegranate that you can eat, or you can juice them to make pomegranate juice.
Pomegranate seeds vs arils
And just to clarify things, the terms pomegranate seeds and pomegranate arils can be and often are used interchangeably, but there is a small technical difference between the two. The arils are the small sacs that contain both the pomegranate seeds and the juice of the pomegranate.
Pomegranate arils are delicious and so festive to dress up any holiday dish, or even a simple salad of greens with some apple cider vinaigrette. They can also be eaten by themselves as a snack (they're delicious!), or used in sweet treats like this homemade chocolate bark. I also love to use them to garnish fall dishes like this butternut squash soup.
And if you love pomegranate juice I've also included not only the best way to cut a pomegranate below, but also two methods for how to juice a pomegranate. Again, nothing beats fresh. 🙂
To get started, wash and dry your pomegranate(s) well.
Then, use a small chef's knife or paring knife to core a shallow circular section off of the top of the pomegranate and remove it.
Next, carefully make six shallow slices down the pomegranate from top to bottom. You only want to go skin deep here so as not to cut through the arils themselves.
How to open a pomegranate
Now comes the fun part. 😉
Your goal is to get all of the arils out of the pomegranate. To do this, peel back each section of the pomegranate one by one over a bowl to collect the arils that start to fall out.
Gently pull out the remaining arils from the peels and core of the pomegranate.
And finally, remove any bits of the skin that may have gotten into the bowl of arils. And that's it! Your arils are ready to eat or use in a recipe as is, or see below for juicing methods.
Note: You may come across an alternate method for seeding pomegranate that involves removing the arils in a water-filled bowl. With this method, you cut open the pomegranate as above, but to remove the arils, you hold the sections of the pomegranate under water as you release them. The arils will sink to the bottom while the white pith floats to the top, which you can remove and then drain the arils. While this is another great way to separate the arils from the pomegranate, I actually prefer the non-water method above because it saves the step of having to dry them off afterward (if you don't dry them well, they can spoil pretty quickly.)
How to make pomegranate juice
As promised, read on to learn how to juice a pomegranate right at home!
There are two methods to do this, depending on the equipment you have:
- Juice the pomegranate arils manually, or
- Use a blender at to extract the juice.
Note: There are some sellers on Amazon selling juicers that advertise pomegranate juicing, but I find that the easiest (and cheapest!) way is just to use one of the two methods described here.
The other important thing to know when juicing a pomegranate is that you'll probably want to strain the juiced liquid with a fine mesh strainer as a final step so that it's as smooth as possible.
Note: Six to seven medium pomegranates will yield about four cups of juice.
Method #1: Manually juicing a pomegranate
For this method, all you'll need is a couple tall jars (I like quart-sized Mason jars with wide mouths), a mashing device like a potato masher, and a fine mesh strainer.
Simply place all of the fresh pomegranate arils in one jar and mash until you've released as much of their juices as possible. Then, place your strainer over a second jar and pour the mashed arils through the strainer to catch all of the seed remnants.
Method #2: Juicing a pomegranate with a blender
To juice your pomegranate using a blender, place the arils in your blender and start the blender at low speed for just a second or two. Use a plunger or spatula to push the remaining arils down as you go, and turn the blender on at low speed a few more times for 1-2 seconds until you feel like most of the arils have released their juice.
Then, line place your strainer over a quart-sized Mason jar pour the contents from the blender over the strainer to remove any seed pieces.
Pro tip: If you have a professional grade blender such as a Vitamix and prefer to retain the fiber from the pomegranate seeds, you can go ahead and run at high speed to blend everything until smooth. Just make sure to use the plunger as needed, to push down the arils in between blending as above.
Here is the basic equipment you'll need to cut open a pomegranate:
- paring knife
- cutting board
- glass bowl
If you'd like to juice your pomegranate, you'll also need:
- potato masher or blender
- Mason jars
- fine mesh strainer
Fresh pomegranate arils can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To freeze, separate all of the arils on a parchment paper lined baking sheet or cutting board and freeze them for one hour to prevent clumping when you store them. Then, place all of the individually frozen arils in an airtight bag or container in the freezer for up to 6 months.
🎉 Top tip
You don't need to wash your arils after you release them from the pomegranate! In fact, they'll stay fresh longer in the fridge if you don't wash them or submerge them in water.
Yes, pomegranate seeds (also called arils) are meant to be eaten and are actually the most edible part of the fruit since they contain the juice. While the white membrane surrounding the seeds is also edible, it's usually discarded due to its bitter taste.
Pomegranate arils are both a little sweet and a little sour at the same time, almost like a subtle mix between cherries and grapes, but with a more delicate and unique flavor. And the seeds inside the arils give them a nice crunch.
Yes; you can freeze pomegranate seeds for later use. First, separate all of the arils on a parchment paper lined baking sheet or cutting board and freeze them for an hour to prevent clumping. Then, place all of the individually frozen arils in an airtight bag or container in the freezer for up to 6 months.
The typical growing season for pomegranate trees is from about September to February in the Northern Hemisphere. Pomegranates grown in the Southern Hemisphere will have an opposite seasonality.
How to Cut a Pomegranate (and juice it too)
- 1 pomegranate
- 5-6 additional pomegranates if juicing, to yield about 4 cups of juice
- Prep: Wash and dry your pomegranate(s) well.
- Slice: Using a small chef's knife or paring knife, cut a shallow circular section off of the top of the pomegranate and remove it. Then, carefully make six shallow slices down the pomegranate from top to bottom.
- Open: Peel back each section of the pomegranate one by one over a bowl to collect the pomegranate arils that start to fall out. Gently pull out the remaining arils from the peels and core of the pomegranate. Remove any bits of the white membrane that may have gotten into the bowl.
- Enjoy: Eat the arils right away, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. See notes below for freezing or juicing methods.